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No one is safe in Falcons� rebuilding project


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No one is safe in Falcons rebuilding project

By Jeff Schultz | Thursday, February 14, 2008, 06:39 PM

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Jeff Schultz By the time this is over, when the locker room in Flowery Branch looks like Main St. in Tombstone, there are going to be players and agents who will say that Thomas Dimitroff has blood on his hands.

Don t listen.

A team falls apart. A franchise crumbles with it. The win column shrinks from 11 to 8 to 7 to 4. Home games slide so far off the radar that the marketing department can t even fabricate numbers about a season-ticket waiting list any more.

If there is any absolute about the state of the Falcons these days, it s this: Nobody is indispensable. Some teams have a nucleus to build around. The Falcons barely have an embryo. So if you see suspicious looking wires running from the locker room to Dimitroff s office, and the general manager pushes down on the plunger as early as today, don t feel the need to cover your eyes.

You ve already seen the worst.

You ve seen the games.

Some general managers have options when they start a rebuilding project. But when you re looking at a condemned city block, it doesn t make sense to level every second building. Dimitroff is about to pick the only real option he has: Just level everything and start over.

Don t think of the Falcons losing so many good guys. Think of it as a necessary turning of the page. Arthur Blank, by all appearances, has taken a step back. Dimitroff has assumed construction duties from Rich McKay. Mike Smith is the new coach, replacing some passing apparition from the nether world.

A new structure and a new plan require new heartbeats. Some players will keep their jobs, either because they re actually pretty good or at least have the potential to be: Michael Boley, Roddy White, John Abraham and Jerious Norwood among them. But most will fall into one of two categories: 1) Bad; 2) Average or below, and possibly not worth what ever they re being paid. The number of players Dimitroff and Smith keep from the second category depends largely on the draft and what bargains they can find among street free agents

The endangered list reads like the jersey rack at a fans-wear store: Dunn, Brooking, Milloy, Crumpler, Coleman. You know them, you love them, but trust me you can live without them. If you start to feel bad when the plunger is pushed, just think about the 24-3 loss at Minnesota that opened the season, or the 34-point loss at Tampa Bay, or the 20-point home loss to New Orleans. Think of the second-half collapses that buried playoff hopes in 2005 and 2006.

Yes, there were significant issues: The dog-fighting quarterback. The draft busts. The injuries. An increasingly lax attitude under Jim Mora. Discontentment and disorganization under Bobby Petrino. But when there are so many fizzles and so few victories, it becomes clear that the team lacks more than just talent. It lacks bonding agents. In short, none of the veterans so often cast as leaders were able to lead this team to much.

The Falcons won four games with them. They can win four games without them.

Dimitroff will have nine picks in seven rounds this draft, including four among the first some-100 players taken (pending compensatory picks). They could have a shot at either Arkansas running back Darren McFadden or LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey, or both. Either would be a rarity a building block.

There is a decision to make on cornerback DeAngelo Hall, who, for all the baggage, probably is the team s best player. Tight end Crumpler would be the best talent on the offensive side of the ball if he weren t injured so often. The question is whether it s worth the risk releasing the tight end, only to suddenly have his knees not creak on another team s roster.

But beyond a select few, most of these cuts won t be difficult. Sentimentality became a non-factor a long time ago. Cover your ears, but not your eyes.

;)

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Vicious (2/14/2008)
Sounds like it might be McFadden after all. It's a building block. If he isn't the choice, then it may be Dorsey or Ellis. They seem pretty content about building from the middle out. I'm not opposed to it.

Yes, thats what its sound like. Also sound like Phillip Wheelers or Ben Moffitt will be one of our pick.

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UGA_DAWG46 (2/14/2008)
Vicious (2/14/2008)
Sounds like it might be McFadden after all. It's a building block. If he isn't the choice, then it may be Dorsey or Ellis. They seem pretty content about building from the middle out. I'm not opposed to it.

Yes, thats what its sound like. Also sound like Phillip Wheelers or Ben Moffitt will be one of our pick.

MLB, DT, SS and FS, RB, OT OG C OG OT, another QB. I see those as being the main focus of the draft. Anything else is a wasted pick.

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nativefalcon (2/14/2008)
No one is safe in Falcons rebuilding project

By Jeff Schultz | Thursday, February 14, 2008, 06:39 PM

Dimitroff will have nine picks in seven rounds this draft, including four among the first some-100 players taken (pending compensatory picks). They could have a shot at either Arkansas running back Darren McFadden or LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey, or both. Either would be a rarity a building block.

BOTH???? BOTH????

Otherwise not a bad article.

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londonfalcon (2/15/2008)
nativefalcon (2/14/2008)
No one is safe in Falcons rebuilding project

By Jeff Schultz | Thursday, February 14, 2008, 06:39 PM

Dimitroff will have nine picks in seven rounds this draft, including four among the first some-100 players taken (pending compensatory picks). They could have a shot at either Arkansas running back Darren McFadden or LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey, or both. Either would be a rarity a building block.

BOTH???? BOTH????

Otherwise not a bad article.

I think he means they could both be available when we pick. It's a possibility if the Dolphins take Ryan and the Rams take Chris Long or Jake Long.

Good article. It's time to clean house. I'm apprehensive about such massive cuts because I have doubts that we can fill our needs adequately, but I feel it's a move that needs to be made... just not sure it needs to be made all at once.

It also seems weird that we wouldn't try to trade some of these guys for value instead of just releasing them to clear up space.

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